Meditation for Shingles Pain

I have chronic nerve pain as a result of a bout of shingles. I’ve done nearly everything that I can to alleviate the pain and a friend has recommended that I try meditation. Does this work?

Adjunctive therapies like meditation may indeed be helpful in pain management. Meditation is a self-help technique to help ease pain for short periods. While it won’t magically erase the pain, many people find that it can ease chronic pain, and some people will then need lower doses of medication. Basic meditation techniques can be learned via online instruction or through classes that teach mindfulness, yoga or contemplative practices. One fellow who has become a devotee of meditation says, “I’m learning to be mindful of what is happening at the moment, not how much pain I felt yesterday or worrying about how much it might hurt later. This is helping me to detach myself from its control over my life, so I’m generally more hopeful.” For most, meditation involves twice-daily practice for about 20 minutes, focusing on breathing and letting go of the nerve pain. The goal, which may be a bit esoteric, is to stay in the moment and focus on immediate feelings.

Our expert: Jackson Rainer is a board-certified clinical psychologist who practices with the Care and Counseling Center in Decatur, Georgia, helping people living with chronic illnesses.

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